|For Immediate Release
Case # 09SF0815
August 28, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
SECOND-STRIKER GANG MEMBER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR ROBBING CLERK AT GUNPOINT OF MORE THAN $600,000 FROM JEWELRY STORE IN LAGUNA BEACH
*Later led police on two separate high-speed chases
NEWPORT BEACH – A second-striker gang member will be arraigned on Monday for robbing a female clerk at gunpoint of more than $600,000 from a jewelry store in Laguna Beach. Alonso Jose Lopez, 31, Vista, is charged with one felony count each of second degree robbery, second degree commercial burglary, and street terrorism with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and the vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member. Lopez has sentencing enhancements for a prior 1998 strike for forcible kidnapping, and two prison priors for a 1997 evading the police and the same 1998 kidnapping conviction. If convicted on all charges, Lopez faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in state prison. Lopez is being held on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Aug. 31, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
At approximately 7:00 p.m. on Aug. 25, 2009, Lopez is accused of entering Joshi & Baca, a jewelry store, located at 305 Forest Avenue in Laguna Beach. Lopez is accused of being accompanied by two other suspects, all dressed in black with hoods and caps as the store was closing. One of the men is accused of demanding all high-end jewelry from an employee at the store and another was armed with a firearm. The three are accused of taking jewelry amounting over $600,000 and fleeing the scene in a white Ford Fusion sedan.
Witnesses called 9-1-1 to report the incident and provided the license plate number. The Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) responded and investigated this case. A police officer spotted the white Ford Fusion and started a pursuit after activating the lights and siren. Lopez is accused of fleeing the police while driving on the toll road Highway 73, and driving at high speeds to the Aliso Viejo Town Center. When police arrived, Lopez is accused of fleeing into the mall. LBPD did not apprehend the defendant that time.
Further investigation led Oceanside Police to a house in Oceanside in San Diego County. Lopez is accused of driving away and leading police on a high-speed chase. He is accused of driving to an agricultural field, exiting the car, and running into the field to hide in a shed. A police canine led them to Lopez.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson of the Gang Unit will be prosecuting this case.